Friday, July 24, 2015

An Instagram Picture Does Not Make A Yoga Teacher

I sit here tonight not as excited as I should be.

My yoga mat is freshly cleaned, my blocks are packed and I have my registration from printed out. I am ready for my first yoga teacher training since 2012.

I actually had to go back through my certifications and check the dates. Yes, it has been more than three years since I last sat in on a yoga teacher training. It makes me very sad to realize how much time has passed and how much of my old life I've lost.

Of course, in my defense, I've been through some shit these past few years. There was that whole divorce fiasco. And then major turmoil with one of my children. I've written very little about that era here on the blog. In fact, I've just recently started speaking out about how addiction destroys families. You can read the first piece I wrote here, where it got picked up by the Yahoo home page  and a different post over here on Rebelle Society.

As you can see, I sure haven't been slacking these past 40 months. Forty months! I've missed sitting in on yoga teacher trainings as much as I've missed leading trainings.

So I should be more excited to get back to what I love. But I'm not because of recent events.

This week I had a new student in class. A woman probably a little older than me, a few extra pounds and by her own admission has only recently begun to be active again. As I always do, I asked if there was anything I needed to be aware of to make her practice safe and enjoyable for her.

She rattled off the usual things; bad knees, back issues and lack of flexibility. Then she mentioned she also had scoliosis and, oh by the way, her neck was in a lot of pain from the headstand she did on Monday.

Headstand? What?

Yes, this woman with legitimate physical issues that require modification, who had never in her life done yoga before Monday (the two days previous to my class), and who has scoliosis attempted a headstand.

Why? Why did you do that?

Because the teacher told her to.

This other "teacher" has no yoga training. I don't believe she even has any group fitness training. But the gym hired her to "teach" yoga.

And now a new yogi is hurt and afraid of yoga.

I asked if she told the teacher about her limitations. She said not only did the teacher not ask but when she said her neck was hurting the teacher told her she just had to get stronger.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to go find the gym owner and scream at him. I wanted to quit on the spot.

But I didn't. I didn't do any of those things because I just don't think quality, certified yoga teacher training matters all that much any more.

When I look around my area, I am the only certified yoga instructor currently teaching. There are other yoga teachers. But they have no training or very limited online training for the bargain price of just $49.99. Many of their students are getting hurt, seeking out my classes or worse even giving up on yoga altogether.

Now, I'm not saying all this to inflate my ego and I really don't mean this to be a personal attack on anyone in particular. I'm upset at the business. I'm disheartened that someone who watches a YouTube video and then calls them self a yoga teacher gets hired and paid the same amount that I do. I believe it's unfair and unethical to members entering the classroom who, as they rightly should, assume their instructor has yoga training. I'm frustrated at the gyms and fitness centers that not only don't ask for certifications, but don't require certified instructors.

And I'm worried about the future of yoga.

Of course not all yoga teacher trainings are created equal, and we all know Yoga Alliance isn't the best at over seeing yoga schools. Yoga training used to be passed down from teacher to student over years and years of practice and study.  I'm sure there are great teachers who aren't RYT certified, yet who have studied under the masters.

I don't think you'll find those teachers in the gyms and fitness centers where most people are now practicing yoga.

Yoga isn't now, and never was meant to be, a fitness trend. It shouldn't be taught like any general group fitness class. It isn't a "no pain no gain" workout that you grunt and struggle your way through.

Yoga is not an Instagram picture.

But I fear that is what it has been reduced to.

I'm going to try real hard to improve my attitude before I walk in to the yoga teacher training tomorrow. And I'm hoping that after being back in that environment, surrounded by like-minded yogis who care about and value the history and philosophy of yoga, I will be revitalized.

In the meantime, I'm grateful for all my years of very expensive and hours upon hours upon hours of study and training. I welcome those students whose bodies don't look like an Instagram picture and I'll never get tired of watching their excitement as they realize that, because of yoga, their back no longer hurts or their neck pain is gone.

I accept that the only thing I can do, the only way I can hope to bring about change, is to keep studying and to keep teaching. And pass along the yoga to anyone who comes in search of it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Doesn't Everyone Have A Baseball Field In Their Back Yard?

When my now ex-husband and I bought this house with a huge backyard, the first thing I said was let's mow a ball field into the backyard!

He said no.

Many times over the years I said I was going to mow a ball field and each time he said no. I have no desire to go in to detail here about the control issues surrounding him telling me no, but this one issue became a very big deal to me.

It's been almost exactly three years since the infamous phone call letting me know my marriage was in fact over and I was getting a divorce, and I finally have a ball field in my back yard.

As I was out the other evening mowing the base lines, I kept thinking 'this is mine'. I am no longer controlled by him. I make my own decisions.

I realize to most people mowing the yard, and mowing a ball field into the yard, is a petty act of independence. But to me it is so much more.

It is a sign that I am no longer controlled by a very controlling man. I no longer care what he will think if he finds out. 

I am becoming more free.

Then an interesting thing happened. What started out as a F*** You to a ghost from my past, became an event where I just allowed myself to have fun for the sake of having fun.

The kids and I invited over a bunch of friends for a swim party/play ball/BBQ evening. 

First we played wiffle ball.

Then it was time for kickball.

And because our backyard really is that big, why not spray paint a Twister game into the yard too!

The night quickly transformed from past resentments keeping a hold of me to being able to look ahead to a happier, more fun-filled future.

And the ball field will be staying as a reminder that there is a happier future for me and my family.

It's Hot and I'm Cranky

I try so hard to believe people are good and honest.

And really, most of the time I am right. Most people are good and honest people.

But tonight, as I sit here in my 85 degree house at just after midnight, I'm struggling.

The beginning of this summer my central air conditioning officially died. I've had problems with it the past couple summers but have been able to pray it along. Not this year. And because the unit is 24 years old, replacement parts aren't even available.

A new unit cost me $5,000.00.

I don't have $5,000. I don't even have a credit card I can put $5,000 on. So I called the bank, and well, I might have forgotten to tell them I no longer have a job. Either way, they loaned me the $5,000 I needed for a new unit.

And the house was cooler for about a day.

I've called out the AC guy five times since he has installed it. Each time he comes out I get a different reason why the brand new $5,000 unit isn't working.

The latest reason I am being told is I have a 3-ton unit and the size of my house requires a 5-ton unit. Well, there's a couple problems with that theory:

- I've always had a 3-ton unit.
- Last year I had a barely working 3-ton unit that kept my house cooler than my current brand new energy efficient 3-ton unit.
- If my house requires a 5-ton unit, why did this guy sell me a 3-ton unit? He is the same repairman I was using last summer to band aid my unit together. He was already familiar with the size of my house, my duct work, etc. He never ever one time said hey you need a bigger AC unit to properly cool your house.
- This brand new 3-ton unit is supposed to be energy efficient and save me money on my electric bill (hence setting off some of the $5,000 cost). My electric bill came today. Want to guess? My bill is $70 higher this month than it was at the exact same time last year with an old, non-energy efficient unit.

But, the most important part, it's after midnight and my house is still 85 degrees inside. We already have ceiling fans and I've put box fans in every room so we can try and sleep.

When I called today, he told me he will come out tomorrow and "try and figure something out."

Yeah, what we are going to figure out is which you can do faster - give me back my $5,000 or give me a working air conditioning unit.

My friends keep telling me to go on Facebook and warn people against using this guy. I really don't want to do that. Everyone needs to make a living and I don't want to ruin someones business.

But, this needs made right. And it needs made right, right away.

Because the hotter I get, the crankier and louder I'm going to get.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

New Name, Same Space, Still Me

I've done a little rearranging on the blog here. But no worries, it's still the same old me.

Just a (hopefully) improved version of me.

What started out as just a place for me to write privately has grown into something bigger. Much bigger.

I will still continue to write here, but now I am writing for multiple other outlets both locally and nationally. You can find the links to my other writing at the very top under  I Also Write For...
And, of course, my book has been published and is now selling on Amazon. (Oh, I'm going to link that forever!)

Originally the blog was titled YogaLifeWay because, at the time, I was building an independent yoga business and that was the name I was using. The business was successful, but due to life's circumstances, it never really had a chance to take off.

And I'm OK with that. Life changes and we have to change with it.

I've always loved the Diapers, Detentions and Downdogs description and I want to keep that. That is my life. I no longer have diapers to change (hallelujah!), but as long as the independent, sometimes obstinate Fields kids are in school I'm sure I'll still have detentions to deal with. And I'll never get rid of downdogs.

I considered revising to:

A Yogi's Journey Through Diapers, Detentions, Death, Divorce & Downdogs

But that's a bit too much.

So I'm keeping the Diapers, Detentions and Downdogs part. But below I've added:

A Yogi's Journey To Create A Life She Loves

Because, really, that's what it's all about. 

Creating, and recreating as necessary, I life I love living.